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    Chowan, Apex still awaiting DEQ decision on wind farm


    December 4, 2022 - Tyler Newman

     

      EDENTON - Chowan County officials are still awaiting word from state officials on whether final permits for the proposed Timbermill Wind project will be approved.

      Timbermill Wind is a 45-turbine, 6,300-acre wind farm Apex Clean Energy proposes to build in eastern Chowan County, between Center Hill, Paradise and Virginia roads, and the Perquimans County line.

      The most recent public hearing on Timbermill's permit application, held in August at College of the Albemarle's Edenton-Chowan campus, included both supporters and opponents of the project. Those who favor the wind farm tout its economic and green energy benefits while those against it worry about potential impacts to the landscape and bird population.

      Local tax revenue generated by the wind farm could reach nearly $1 million annually after the first several years of project incentives come to an end.

      As part of the process to begin the wind farm's construction, final permitting is required by the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality as well as the U.S.

      Army Corps of Engineers.

      NCDEQ officials requested additional information about the project from Apex Clean Energy on Aug. 4.

      Apex officials say they complied with the agency's request on Nov. 1 and are awaiting a final decision on their permit request.

      "Timbermill Wind submitted its response to DEQ's request for additional information related to the application earlier this month," said Dahvi Wilson, vice president of public affairs at Apex. "The application is complete with the exception of the two approvals that the project will require to proceed."

      The two approvals still needed are a Clean Water Act Section 404 Individual Permit and a Section 401 Water Quality Certification, granted by the Army Corps of Engineers and NCDEQ, respectively.

      "Both the 404 permit application and 401 certification application are currently under review by the Army Corps and DEQ," Wilson said. "We will provide the Individual Permit and Section 401 Water Quality Certification to North Carolina DEQ for incorporation into the 484 application when they are secured."

      However, a DEQ spokesperson told the Chowan Herald on Nov. 14 that the additional information request was not fully completed by Apex and that the agency is still waiting for final documents.

      "This (response) is not a complete ADI (additional information) response so we are waiting on the full responses before the next steps," said Josh Kastrinsky, public information officer for NCDEQ's Division of Energy, Mineral and Land Resources.

      He said that under state law, DEMLR will have 30 days after receiving the additional information before either making a final decision on the permit or requesting Apex to supply more information.

      The partial information submitted by Apex to NCDEQ's questions may address concerns raised about the wind project during the last public hearing - including landowner lease agreements, the pumping of groundwater for wind turbine bases, and impacts on avian wildlife, groundwater and soil, and underground utilities.

      Chowan County Planning and Inspections Director Brandon Shoaf said last week that he did not have a current update on the project's permitting timetable.

      "The county is waiting on DEQ at this time," he said.

      All of Apex's responses to NCDEQ's request for additional information can be found at the following web link: https://tinyurl.com/bdcp98ca.

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